Sunday, November 21, 2021

Orthodox Rabbi Teaching Halakha Beyond the Shulkhan Arukh, Judaism Beyond the Commandments

 https://www.crescas.nl/columns/webcolumnlopescardozo/6o4oz/Orthodox-Rabbi-Teaching-Halakha-Beyond-the-Shulkhan-Arukh-Judaism-Beyond-the-Commandments/

 NLC: I am of the opinion that Abraham, by being prepared to do so, to sacrifice his son, failed the test. I think that the reading of the binding of Isaac should be different from the conventional approach as some chassidic texts indeed seem to suggest . For an excellent overview read: The Fear, the Trembling and the Fire by my dear friend, Professor Jerome (Yehudah) I. Gellman, published by University Press of America in 1994.

Today’s Chief rabbis are not like the famous Rav Avraham Yitschak Kook, Rav Ben Zion Uziel or Rav Isaac Yitschak Herzog. I think that in the Ashkenazi Rabbinate the last person of greatness was Rav Shlomo Goren. He had the knowledge and he had the creativity. Afterwards this whole Institution disintegrated. 

 Both the Shulkhan Arukh and earlier Maimonides' famous codification of Jewish Law, the Mishneh Torah ("Repetition of the Torah", a code of Jewish religious law compiled between 1170 and 1180) are tremendous scholarly achievements. But what Maimonides did was extremely dangerous. By writing down the Mishneh Torah, Maimonides finalized the halakha. He basically said, this is the halakha and nothing else. He even wrote in the forward to this masterpiece, that there is no longer any need to study the Talmud because he had put it all in front of us. Here it is! For once and for all. He provides no minority opinions, he acts precisely as what he probably he was, as the greatest talmudic genius of his time and possibly of all time, and we - after a period of resistance when his books were burned in some communities - have turned him into an halachic idol: If Maimonides says so, then there's nothing left to discuss. We canonized him.

 

9 comments :

  1. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 8, 2022 at 4:14 PM

    I think you are missing the greatness of Rav Cardozo' shlita comment.

    On a certain level , Avraham passes the test. But , he is suggesting, that on another level, he may be actually failing it. Why, in the case of Sdom and Amara, does he negotiate so much with Hashem, to keep bringing the price down and the threshold for punishment up?

    And why does he not do this in the case of the Akeidah?


    Rav Soloveitchik sees this as surrendering to Hashem, surrendering to halacha. And, in fact, Hashem does not allow Avraham to enact the akeidah with Isaac. Now we use the Akeidah as means to ask for mercy, just in the same way that Avraham withheld his mercy, we ask Hashem to withold his anger against us.



    If you believe the Torah was already written before it happened, then the peopel inthe Torah had no choice to do what they did. If they had free choice, then their actions are recorded in the Torah, so had they chosen differently, then the Torah would tell a different story on these human choices.

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  2. Even after all your twisting and dancing; to audaciously suggest, that on some level, Abraham actually failed the test of the Akeidah, is still contradicted by the Mishnah (Avos 5:3), which posited, UNEQUIVOCALLY, that Abraham passed ALL the ten tests, of which the Akeidah is one of them.

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  3. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 8, 2022 at 10:30 PM

    עֲשָׂרָה נִסְיוֹנוֹת נִתְנַסָּה אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם וְעָמַד בְּכֻלָּם, לְהוֹדִיעַ כַּמָּה חִבָּתוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם

    He stood by them all.
    OK , we are not told what the result would be if he negotiated.
    Was he wrong for negotiating sdom? Was Yaakov wrong for negotiations on his parnassah as a requirement for him to keep Torah?

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  4. 1. Tosfos Yom Tov (ad loc.) cites Rashi, that “He stood by them all”, includes that he didn’t even question Hashem, regarding these tests.

    2. What would be the result if Avraham negotiated? Based on the above, it would be a considered a lack of perfection in his withstanding the test; even if he eventually went through with doing the Akeidah; since that would imply questioning Hashem’s actions or orders.

    3. Was he wrong for negotiating with Hashem regarding Sodom? What would possibly be wrong with that? [Note, that this was not one of the 10 tests, alluded to in the Mishnah].

    4. Chazal actually see greatness in Avraham, who tried to intervene on behalf of the people of Sodom; as opposed to Noach, who did not pray for the people of his generation, that they should be spared from the great Flood.

    5. “Was Yaakov wrong for negotiations on his parnassah?” What would possibly be wrong with that?

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  5. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 9, 2022 at 12:28 AM

    IR: 5. “Was Yaakov wrong for negotiations on his parnassah?” What would possibly be wrong with that?



    KA: see your answer to 2 ( Based on the above, it would be a considered a lack of perfection in his withstanding the test; even if he eventually went through with doing the Akeidah; since that would imply questioning Hashem’s actions or orders.)




    IR: Chazal actually see greatness in Avraham, who tried to intervene on
    behalf of the people of Sodom; as opposed to Noach, who did not pray for
    the people of his generation, that they should be spared from the great
    Flood.


    KA: Noach was a Tzaddik - perhaps he passed on a certain level, but not on a certain higher level. That is the point that Cardozo is making - Perhaps Avraham , who showed hsi greatness in trying to intervene, did not do the same with the akeidah.



    The fact is we don't know what would have been if he had negotiated on the Akeidah. Maybe it would have made him even greater, and Moshiach would have come, or maybe not. His choices were not based on him first reading Rashi, and then to act acordingly. he acted according to his own high level decision making, and the meforshim show how great these decisions were. he did make mistakes, eg leaving E'Y in the time of famine, whcih we are told by RambaN? was a lack of faith, and for which his offsrping would be exiled to Egypt.

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  6. I assume that you're referring to Yaakov Avinu negotiating his salary with Lavan.

    I don't see anything wrong, from a Torah perspective, with negotiating a salary package with your employer. It's the same as a seller trying to negotiate a better price for the something that he owns. However in this case, it's the potential employee’s services which are being negotiated for, and the employee can try to get the best price for them.

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  7. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 9, 2022 at 4:33 PM

    I'm referring to Bereishit 28: 20

    Jacob then made a vow, saying, “If God remains with me, protecting me on this journey that I am making, and giving me bread to eat and clothing to wear,

    21
    and I return safe to my father’s house
    .... Hashem shall be my God.


    That is pretty astonishing "negotiation". He didn't do it to just accept Hashem as his G-d.

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  8. Are you able to read the commentaries there?
    Rashi, Ramban, Ibn Ezra, Sforno, Netziv (Ha'amek Davar)

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  9. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 9, 2022 at 7:51 PM

    Rashi simply expands on the plai meaning; ramban mollifies the meaning to souond less bargaining; Ibn Ezra only comments ont eh 2nd verse, and there is discussing a separate Holy subject; Sfrono is eexpanding on the plain meaning, ie that Yaakov was negotiating all the problems that life incurs, so he was bargaining.

    You should try, it is enlightenting.

    There are those like the Kli Yakar who says he was asking for spiritual protection - OK, but he is still bargaining, although at a higher level.

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